Tue, 12 Dec 2023

Colts may rely on Gardner Minshew vs. undefeated Ravens

Field Level Media
21 Sep 2023, 07:25 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports)

It might be for a limited run but it looks like Minshew Mania will be making another appearance.

First stop: Baltimore.

With Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson a possible no-go because of a concussion during last week's 31-20 win at Houston, backup Gardner Minshew could pick up the start for his team's visit to the Ravens on Sunday.

Minshew replaced Richardson in the second quarter against the Texans, completing 19 of 23 passes for 171 yards with a touchdown. Minshew led three straight scoring drives that gave Indianapolis (1-1) a 31-10 lead in the third quarter, which was more than enough cushion to ensure coach Shane Steichen's first NFL win.

Steichen was most impressed with a three-minute TD drive Minshew orchestrated.

"The way he prepares week in and week out, knowing the system and going out and operating the way he did -- taking completions, operating at a high level, moving the football," Steichen said of Minshew. "We were playing normal ball ... and just the way he operated, it was very impressive."

Minshew has 45 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions across 34 career games (24 starts) over the past five years. He made 20 starts over his first two seasons with Jacksonville and two for Philadelphia in each of the past two seasons.

Richardson was off to a big start last week before departing. He rushed for two first quarter touchdowns and was on pace to throw for more than 200 yards and rush for more than 100 yards. But he's been knocked out of his first two NFL starts with injuries.

"I think it's just something where he's got to protect himself," Colts owner Jim Irsay said. "He's a big, physical guy. Obviously, he can run the football. ... Self-protection is an issue."

Baltimore (2-0) has no such worries about its starting quarterback for now. Lamar Jackson appears to have found a happy medium between running the ball and throwing from the pocket during the Ravens' quick start.

In last week's 27-24 win at Cincinnati, Jackson connected on 24 of 33 passes for 237 yards and two scores while adding 54 yards on 12 rushes. Jackson's efficient play helped Baltimore rack up 26 first downs and control the ball for just over 33 minutes as it notched a road win over its AFC North rival.

Through two games, Jackson's 74.6 percent completion rate is second in the NFL behind only Buffalo's Josh Allen and ranks far above his career completion percentage of 64.1.

"Oh, he's different. He's different," Ravens wide receiver Nelson Agholor said of Jackson. "I've always watched him extend plays and move around but also, I've watched him survey the field and he does a great job. I don't know many quarterbacks that can literally go through almost a full progression as quickly as he does."

Add Jackson's improved accuracy to a rushing attack ranked sixth in the league (288 yards) and the best third-down efficiency (58.6 percent), and it adds up to an offense that might be as balanced as it has been in several years.

Indianapolis owns an 8-6 lead in the all-time series during the regular season, but Baltimore has won the past three matchups.

--Field Level Media

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